Mothercare reports loss after weak UK sales

Image caption,
Mothercare is now reviewing its UK business

Mothercare has reported a half-year loss of £81.4m and said it is launching a review of its UK business.

The firm, which sells goods for mothers-to-be, babies and children, said its UK business was suffering from a "weak" consumer environment.

Like-for-like UK sales were 7% lower, while total UK sales fell 4.3%. In contrast, overseas sales were up 15.7%.

The hefty loss came after Mothercare wrote down the value of assets and took charges related to UK store closures.

Stripping out the one-off costs, the pre-tax loss for the six months to 8 October was £4.4m.

Mothercare said in May that it would close 110 UK stores. The retailer - which also owns Early Learning Centre stores - has 353 UK stores and 969 overseas outlets.

The company opened 81 international outlets during the six month period.

Total revenues rose to £412.9m from £397.1m a year earlier.

Alan Parker, Mothercare's executive chairman, said the company had experienced a "difficult" six months.

Announcing the review of the firm's UK operations, he said he was "confident that we can return to a profitable and sustainable business in the UK over time".

Mothercare is continuing to search for a new chief executive following the announcement that Ben Gordon would stand down by mutual consent on 17 November.

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